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Inspire Magazine - Treasures of the Italian Renaissance

St Peters
Inspire Grand Designs Cover

Inspire Magazine - Treasures of the Italian Renaissance

story by: Inspire Magazine

Michelangelo, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, the Sistine Chapel and the Uffizi Gallery. These are names with such a global resonance for supreme artistic achievement that it’s easy to forget that they all spring from the same relatively small area of Italy. Visit Florence, Siena, Venice and Rome and you’ll come into contact with the creative and cultural heart of Italy’s glorious Renaissance.

Walk the streets and enter the palaces that the artists themselves knew so well and experience first-hand their masterpieces in their original settings: only in Italy is it possible to experience this shiver-down-thespine connection. Best of all, immersing one’s self in this amazing cultural heritage is no dusty academic exercise. This is Italy! And the epicentre of Renaissance art is Tuscany, a region lauded for its food and wine as much as its magnificent architecture and scenery.

It’s been said that Italians turn life into an art form, and sitting in Siena’s Piazza del Campo for Il Palio you’ll see why. This twice-yearly horse race around the Piazza is a break-neck event that’s part medieval pageant and part pandemonium! For people-watching and just soaking up the atmosphere the place has few parallels, unless you take a short trip across the border to soak up the artistic treasures that abound in the south of France. This area is so attractive that even Popes were persuaded to abandon the Vatican for a slice of the good life in Avignon. Shady boulevards lined with cafés, opulent palaces, ancient castles and wonderful museums featuring stunning art, now that’s a setting for your very own renaissance.

You could spend a lifetime in Italy and still not discover everything it has to offer. So planning a longer stay makes plenty of sense. If you do, there are some great car hire deals you can take advantage of.

With a car at your disposal, you can easily get out and explore Tuscany, including the famous wine regions of Montepulciano and Chianti. Rent a villa (generally available by the week) and you'll soon feel like a local, visiting the markets and cooking up La Cucina Italiana.

And if you really want to get in the swing of things, there's a 7-night tour of neighbouring Umbria by Vespa!

For the ultimate taste of Italy, consider combining a Renaissance city stay with a coastal destination, like the ruggedly beautiful Cinque Terre or romantic Amalfi further to the south.

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